For many people, pale ales are their first introduction to craft beer - they have more flavour than the mass produced lagers they’d known before, but not as much alcohol or bitterness or weirdness as some of the other beer styles out there.

Like most beers, pale ales are made with four ingredients - malt, hops, yeast, and water - but it’s what brewers do with these ingredients that gives pale ales their appeal. 

What makes it a pale ale?

The story of pale ales goes back to 17th and 18th century Britain. Before that, most beers were dark, since malts were roasted with wood fire, which generally resulted in dark malts. But the use of a new kind of fuel gave people more control over the malting process, making pale malts available.

‘Pale ale’ is actually a broad category rather than a single style. While any pale ale is made using mostly (or only) pale malts and fermented with ale yeast (as opposed to lager yeast), and most sit between 4% and 6% ABV, there’s plenty of variety under the pale ale umbrella.

What should you expect?

Pale ales are approachable, versatile, and refreshing. When you take a sip, you’ll generally notice both the sweetness from the malts and the flavour and bitterness from the hops (but less than in an IPA).

There are styles within the style: an American pale ale will feature the citrus and piney flavours of American hops, and have a bitterness you can’t ignore; an English pale will let caramelly malts come to play more than the hops; an Australian pale ale is designed for our climate, bursting with the tropical fruit aromas of Aussie hops while still being light and easy to smash; and a hazy or New England pale is all about a cloudy appearance, juicy flavours, and low bitterness.

Having said all this, keep in mind that a lot of brewers don’t follow the rules - they brew beer that they and their customers enjoy, rather than sticking to a defined style. So don’t be surprised if a beer doesn’t fit neatly into any category.

American Pale Ale

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  1. Flavour Profile
    Hops
    Malt
    • Chewy
    Tasting notes
    An easy drinking ale with subtle bitterness and clean malt finish.
    American Pale Ale
    American Pale Ale
    American Pale Ale
    Rocks Brewing Co
    Sold By Rocks Brewing Co
    Pay as little as $41.00
    12 pack
    $50.00
    24 pack
    $82.50
    6 pack
    $25.00
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  2. Flavour Profile
    Hops
    Malt
    • Smooth / Velvety
    Blackwoods
    Blackwoods
    American Pale Ale
    Sunday Road Brewing
    Sold By Sunday Road Brewing
    Pay as little as $54.00
    12 pack
    $62.00
    24 pack
    $95.00
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  3. Flavour Profile
    Hops
    Malt
    • Sharp
    Tasting notes
    The malt and American hops are balanced by the subtle rye tartness.
  4. Flavour Profile
    Hops
    Malt
    • Delicate
    Tasting notes
    Bright tropical hops balanced by an assertive bitterness.
    Lightning Minds Pale Ale
    Lightning Minds Pale Ale
    American Pale Ale
    Lightning Minds
    Sold By Lightning Minds
    Pay as little as $28.00
    8 pack
    $35.00
    24 pack
    $75.00
    4 pack
    $18.00
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  5. Flavour Profile
    Hops
    Malt
    • Sharp
    Tasting notes
    Crisp. Refreshing. Hoppy. Malty.
    Mosaic Pale Ale
    Mosaic Pale Ale
    American Pale Ale
    The Mill Brewery
    Sold By The Mill Brewery
    Pay as little as $34.00
    8 pack
    $40.00
    24 pack
    $98.00
    4 pack
    $20.00
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  6. Flavour Profile
    Hops
    Malt
    • Light
    Tasting notes
    Spicy and citrusy hops and aromatic hints of grapefruit.
    Pale Ale
    Pale Ale
    American Pale Ale
    7th Day
    Sold By 7th Day
    Pay as little as $39.00
    8 pack
    $44.00
    16 pack
    Special Price $65.00 Regular Price $72.00
    4 pack
    $22.00
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  7. Flavour Profile
    Hops
    Malt
    • Smooth / Velvety
    Tasting notes
    American style Amber Ale, delicately floral and slightly spicy hops. The star of the beer is the caramel malt.
  8. Flavour Profile
    Hops
    Malt
    • Smooth / Velvety
    Tasting notes
    A citrus & stone fruit aroma is balanced with a malty drive and hoppy bitterness.
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